You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Does ‘The Bachelor’ realize it has become a joke?

As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?”

Is the sky blue?

Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TV
Reg_600.TheBachelor2.mh.011413viewer in me that loves catty drama paired with champagne and a touch of romance. (I am a Pisces, after all.) I’ve always enjoyed the franchise, but when I’m asked this season — the program’s seventeenth iteration — if I am tuning, I’ve found myself responding with: “Yes, and it’s complete farce.”

God bless Sean Lowe, this season’s bachelor, and all of his well-intentioned smiles. He has been dubbed on Twitter one of the most genuine men to be on the show, and looks like he was birthed from a Bow Flex machine. But, unfortunately for Sean and his yet-to-be-named fiance, ABC has spun this installment of the skein into something that resembles “Survivor,” “Fear Factor” and “Big Brother,” all rolled up into one show with dating and a few long-stem roses as the anchor point.

The success of last season’s “Bachelor” was, arguably, the success of painting season winner, Courtney, as a villain. Viewers loved to hate-watch the femme as she progressed in the competition, and editors did her no favors when cutting the show together. While ratings slipped for the skein compared to past seasons, Courtney and Ben’s faces littered the covers of rag mags and gossip sites, bringing the show — and its characters — deeper into the American vernacular.





Tierra1ABC must have taken note, because this season’s villain, Tierra, has been editorialized beyond belief. On-air ads for “The Bachelor” no longer focus on burgeoning relationships on the show, but the program’s villain and her catchphrase name, “Tierrable.” When she exited the skein this week, I couldn’t help but wonder: what now, ABC?

Dates have gone off the deep end — literally — as well. Each one of Sean’s group or one-on-one expeditions seems to involve some sort of repelling, diving, gripping of safety bars and overall wearing of helmets. What ever happened to just dinner and a movie? Why are the girls being asked to drink warm goat’s milk in some sort of weird dare? Why are we sending the woman with one arm on a date that she can only
129848_9912r_pre-600x399complete if she repels down a 30 story building, and then on a group date that is nothing but roller derby? Why are we doing this?

To make matters worse, ABC has introduced on its website the Kiss Leaderboard, a scoreboard that shows how each woman has fared in “pecks,” “make outs,” and “hot tub kisses” and does everything short of saying it’s sponsored by Cosmo.

More importantly, how is the ABC Digital employee faring who has to update this ridiculous thing?

“Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss made a bit of noise in the reality space last year when he claimed about 70-80% of unscripted programs are fake — just not his beloved dating show. But Fleiss’s skein is finding itself lost in the villains, the smooch graphics and the gags. While he may claim his show is of the truthier variety, “The Bachelor” is still sinking into intolerable quick sand and may be heading towards its final rose.

Follow me on Twitter: @Variety_AJM

More TV

  • Marvel's The Punisher

    'Punisher' Netflix Series Sets Premiere Date

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • NBCUniversal Brings in Formats VP Suzanne

    NBCUniversal Brings in International Formats VP Suzanne Kendrick (EXCLUSIVE)

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • Verizon New Logo

    Verizon Blames Pay-TV Loss in Q3 on Cord-Cutting, Sees Delay on OTT Plans

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • Vogue, Vice Will Team Up in

    Vogue, Vice Will Team Up in Bid to Win Ad Dollars at Omnicom Showcase

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • ‘Babylon Berlin’ Delivers 1.2 Million for

    ‘Babylon Berlin’ Delivers 1.2 Million Viewers for Sky

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • Tom Jones Opens Up about Harassment

    Tom Jones Opens Up About Harassment and Abuse in the Music Industry

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

  • Ted Sarandos Harvey Weinstein

    Netflix and Weinstein Company: Closer Than 'Arm's Distance'

    As the person in the Variety office who watches unscripted for both work and pleasure, I am often approached by colleagues and asked: “So, are you watching ‘The Bachelor’ this season?” Is the sky blue? Of course I watch “The Bachelor.” The dating competition series has, for several seasons, fed the TVviewer in me that […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content